Fortunate Harbor – Reading Guide

1: Tracy Deloche has begun to put together a new life in Florida and find happiness in a relationship with Marsh Egan.  Then both her ex-husband CJ and Marsh’s ex-wife Sylvia arrive back in their lives.  Ex-spouses are often a fact of life after divorce.  How do you think Tracy and Marsh handled their sudden appearance?  Were they trapped by circumstance into behaving in ways they would have preferred not to?  Could you understand their dilemmas and conflicts?

2: When Wanda is fired by the Dancing Shrimp’s new owners, Ken tells her she doesn’t need to work at all anymore.  But Wanda isn’t one to sit around and feel sorry for herself.  Have you ever been in a situation when a life change you didn’t ask for opened a new and better door for you?  Was her new business venture a good change for Wanda?

3: Janya and Rishi are just getting to know each other and starting to fall in love.  Then Rishi’s unexpected medical problem throws their relationship into crisis.  Did you understand why Rishi was reluctant to share the truth with Janya?  Did you think her anger at him was justified?  Infertility is a real and difficult issue for many couples.  What would you suggest be their next move?

4: Although Alice and Olivia are stable and happy in this novel, what do you see for their future?  Olivia has a lot to cope with, a mother who died young-perhaps at the hands of Olivia’s own father-and a father now in prison.  How best can the women help her cope with her past so her future is bright and clear?

5: Dana Turner and her daughter Lizzie are down on their luck, and the other women rally round this new Happiness Key tenant.  When did you begin to suspect Dana’s problems might be more serious than simply a lack of money?   Did you guess what the problem might be, or were you surprised when the truth was finally revealed?

6: Tracy’s appreciation of Marsh’s cooking and her new tendency to eat when stressed have resulted in a surprising weight gain.  Losing to Win is a fictional program, but support of others while losing weight is tried and true.  Did the weight loss within the group seem realistic?  Did Tracy take advantage of everything that she could have to meet her goals?

7: CJ attempts to ingratiate himself to Tracy.  Were you suspicious about why?  Or did you find him charming?  Were Tracy’s misgivings about the way she had “abandoned” him when he was arrested  and imprisoned realistic?  Does one spouse owe another loyalty no matter what?  Or would you have sent CJ packing the moment he came back into your life?

8: Pete Knight is just the handyman helping Tracy with repairs on the Happiness Key houses.  But did you suspect that Pete might be more?  And did you think he was one of the good guys or something else entirely?

9: When Dana and Lizzie’s true story is revealed, the women of Happiness Key continue to rally around Dana, despite the fact she’s running from the law.  Could you agree with their support for her, or did you feel they should have reported, not supported her?  Were you able to accept the full measure of their support, their unselfishness in the face of what they perceived as greater need?

10: There’s still more to come for the neighbors at Happiness Key.  What questions do you hope the final novel, Sunset Bridge, will resolve?  What stories need a more permanent conclusion, and what are your best guesses about what those conclusions will be?